THE South Africa Football Association (SAFA) says it will petition world football’s governing body FIFA and the sport’s continental body CAF in a bid to overturn a result that cost them a place in the playoffs of the African World Cup qualifiers.
South Africa lost 1-0 away to Ghana on Sunday at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Cape Coast after Ghana was awarded a controversial penalty by Senegalese referee Maguette N’Diaye which captain Andre Ayew scored in the 33rd minute.
The result meant the West Africans finished top of Group G level on 13 points with South Africa with both sides also having a similar goal difference (+4). However, Ghana went through to the final round of qualifying in the continent by virtue of having scored more goals than South Africa (seven compared to six).
South African fans took social media during and after the game to vent their frustrations at a number of decisions they felt were wrongly called against their team that ultimately cost them the match and a place in the playoffs.
SAFA CEO Tebogo Motlanthe released a statement on Monday saying the association will be challenging the decisions made during the match.
‘The association has decided to lodge a formal complaint so that the conduct of the match officials are (sic) closely investigated by both FIFA and CAF, but we will be having a press conference which we will be telling the nation what will happen going forward,’ Motlanthe said.
The statement did not give any further details of where and when the press conference will be held.
The other group game saw Zimbabwe end a disappointing qualifying campaign bottom o the table and without a win after settling for a 1-1 draw with Ethiopia.
Elsewhere, the Democratic Republic of Congo earned a 2-0 win against Benin and qualified for the playoffs.
The DR Congo came into the match one place and two points behind Benin who simply needed to avoid defeat to advance to the final qualifying round.
Goals in each half from Diumerci Mbokani and Ben Malango Ngita secured the victory which saw the DR Congo finish top of Group J with 11 points, one ahead of Benin who dropped to second place.
In the same group, Tanzania’s slim hopes of making the playoffs were extinguished following a 1-1 draw away to 10-man Madagascar.
In Group E, Kalifa Koulibaly’s 19th minute goal gave already-qualified Mali a 1-0 win against second-placed Uganda. The West Africans finished the group stage unbeaten and without conceding a goal against three East African teams.
In Group H, Africa’s top-ranked side Senegal cruised to a 2-0 win against Republic of Congo curtesy of a brace from Ismailia Sarr to finish top of the group with five wins and a draw.
Kenya and Rwanda and Togo and Namibia round off the action in Groups E and H, respectively, later on Monday.